Calcutta: West Bengal has maintained its growth momentum this year despite the headwinds of the pandemic and going forward, the deployment of megaprojects will be a key priority for the state government as it focuses on industrialization for a sustainable economic expansion.

As uncertainties persist in the wake of the increase in COVID cases, attracting new investment from the bigwigs will be crucial for West Bengal in 2022.

The state’s industry expects stronger growth in this fiscal year, compared to the 1.2% growth recorded in 2020-21, when the country’s economy contracted by $ 7. 7%. In 2019-2020, the state’s economy contracted by 3.6%.

In 2021-2022, West Bengal’s economy is expected to hit Rs 13.5 lakh crore, according to preliminary estimates.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has made it clear that so far this has provided social justice and now more emphasis will be placed on “industry”.

Maintaining current spending levels for the social sector, experts say, may well be a challenge for the government, unless revenue collection improves, which will help balance skyrocketing debt.

After Reliance by Mukesh Ambani, the state is impatiently awaiting the investments of the Adani group. In a recent meeting with Banerjee, the group’s leader, Gautam Adani, expressed interest in investing in infrastructure and other related sectors in the state.

Among other positive points, the collection of the goods and services tax (GST) has remained dynamic. In October as well as in November, the collections crossed Rs 4000 crore.

However, BJP lawmaker and former chief economic adviser to the Union government, Ashok Lahiri, has warned that a budget crisis is currently knocking on the door.

“I think the chief minister can predict this (budget crisis) because he’s almost knocking on the door. Perhaps that is why she asked MPs not to ask for more money, ”Lahiri said.

According to him, the state budget deficit stood at Rs 36,831 crore in 2019-2020 and in one year it has grown to Rs 52,350 crore. The same is expected to be at Rs 60,864 crore in 2021-22.

However, Amit Mitra, a former state finance minister and currently an adviser to the ruling Trinamool Congressional government, has a different point of view.

He said the state had been able to reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio since Trinamool’s congressional government took office.

West Bengal was ranked number one in terms of net per capita growth (at current prices) in 2020-2021, according to the RBI Handbook of Statistics.

Indian Chamber of Commerce Managing Director Rajeev Singh said: “We expect the SGDP growth figures to show higher growth over the next year as all economic indicators show trends of reprise “.

Spending on many social security schemes, including Khadya Sathi and Swasthya Sathi, has also had a beneficial effect on the demand for sustainable consumption in the state and is creating positive growth, he noted.

Bharat Chamber of Commerce President Ramesh Kumar Saraogi said that in the face of the complexity of the pandemic and disruption from natural disasters, the state government has acted swiftly with several conventional and unconventional policy measures aimed at to allow the normal functioning of all layers of life.

“In addition, continuing with a positive GSDP during the critical phase is a real achievement. We expect more economic activity with industry-government collaboration to achieve the growth trajectory, as expected at the pre-COVID level, ”he said.

The Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Merchants, Aakash Shah, stressed that West Bengal should focus on competitive industrial electricity tariffs and strong increase in value addition in all sectors to become the l one of the top three states in the country.

The state has the highest MSME establishments of around 55 lakh – 14% of the country’s total establishments – and employs around 1.3 crore of people.

The state’s flagship projects include the development of the Deocha Pachami coal block, a deep-water port in Tajpur and a planned special industrial corridor from Dankuni to Asansol via Burdwan-Durgapur and Borjora-Bankura to Raghunathpur in Purulia district, keeping in mind the eastern freight corridor.

In January of this year, the central government, state government and the World Bank teamed up on a USD 105 million development project to improve river transport infrastructure near Kolkata.

According to the state government, the cumulative investment proposals received at the Bengal Global Business Summit between 2015 and 2019 amounted to Rs 12,32,603 ​​crore and about half of the amount was in ‘investment mode’.

However, two large agribusiness industries, which employ thousands of people, jute and tea, are still struggling due to difficult business conditions, including due to the pandemic. More reforms will help these industries to become more viable and sustainable.

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